It is only three days from the annual homecoming celebration, and excitement is in the air.
Homecoming this year will coincide with the first official football game of the season. The game will take place Saturday against Yale.
“The big game and festivities this weekend will represent a huge collaboration of hard work and dedication between many different departments at Cornell,” said Pete Noyes, director of football operations, athletics and physical education.
“Our mission as the Cornell Football Association is to bring together as many current students and alumni as possible in an effort to celebrate what it means to be a Cornellian,” Noyes added.
The big goal is to fill all 25,000 seats in Schoellkopf Stadium. The last time Cornell had a “Schoellkopf sell-out” was the 1955 homecoming game against Princeton.
Pete Fitzpatrick ’94, general manager of Cornell sports marketing, said “the turn of the century and the new millennium” is very significant this year, marking “the largest ever gathering of Cornell football players.”
One-hour before the big kick-off at two o’clock in the afternoon, alumni players will march by decade of graduation into the stadium. The big game was moved back one hour from its usual starting time in order to give fans a chance to “see the great moment,” said Noyes.
“We want to honor all football players, past and present, as well as the fans supporting the team. In this way, we can prepare to embark on the Ivy hunt for the championship,” Noyes added.
Attendance should be bolstered by the “promise for a good game against Yale, one of Cornell’s biggest possible contenders for the Ivy League Championship,” said Fitzpatrick.
With the pre-season rankings placing Cornell near the top of the Ivy list beside Yale, Fitzpatrick cited the “talent” and “strong leadership” as important components of this year’s team.
In last year’s homecoming game, Cornell lost to Yale in a tough battle. The idea that this situation could be reversed this year is, according to Fitzpatrick, “something to get excited about.”
In an effort to get more students involved in the event, a variety of campus organizations will be participants. Cayuga’s Waiters, for instance, will sing the national anthem.
Half-time will feature a “kick-off promotion,” in which participants can test their salt at kicking field goals in the center of the stadium, with the chance to qualify to win airline tickets as well as reservations to the Statler Hotel.
The Big Red Band will also give its signature performance.
“The Big Red Marching Band is so important to the Cornell community because of the spirit that we provide on campus,” said Heather O’Dell ’01, head manager for the Band.
As part of the pre-game festivities, musicians and clowns will be in the area, and a new kids’ activity fair in the alumni fields will feature an obstacle course and a field goal kicking contest. Fitzpatrick also predicted that, “Bigger tailgate parties will form a fun hub of activity.”
All events will be University supervised and sanctioned, according to Vice President for Student and Academic Services Susan Murphy ’73. “So far, we are pleased to see that students are taking an initiative to abide by the regulations and to support Cornell in this big event,” Murphy said.
“Lots of people are turned off by the catering aspect. Nonetheless, homecoming is a great opportunity for the Greek system to get together with alumni members and to welcome everyone back [to Cornell],” said Chris Koza ’01, president of the Interfraternity Council.
A host of other opportunities are also in the works for alumni.
“Although the cornerstone of alumni events this year will be the football game, we also want to give alumni a chance to see the campus and to celebrate the outstanding service of this year’s six Frank T. Rhodes Award recipients,” said Ingeborg Reichenbach, vice president of alumni affairs and development.
This award is “the highest honor at Cornell for recognizing alumni service,” Reichenbach added.
Since the event corresponds with the first home game of the season, “freshmen on the field” will also take place.
Colleen Eccles ’04 said, “I am not quite sure what to expect, but it sounds exciting.”
Archived article by Jennifer Roberts